NEW YORK — Kyrie Irving continues to struggle with the shoulder injury that caused him to miss 26 games earlier this season and is scheduled to see another specialist this week, Nets coach Kenny Atkinson said.
“That’s about all I can tell you,” Atkinson said. “His shoulder continues to bother him. That’s about the extent of it now.”
Atkinson said Irving will be unavailable for Brooklyn’s first game after the All-Star Break against the 76ers on Thursday. Irving was not at practice on Tuesday night.
Atkinson said he will have a clearer timetable after Irving sees the specialist.
Irving saw a specialist in Phoenix in December, but Atkinson said the guard will see a different doctor this time.
On Dec. 24, Irving was given a cortisone shot in an attempt to treat the pain. At the time, Irving said the cortisone shot was done in an attempt to stave off surgery.
“A cortisone shot lasts as long as it can,” Irving said in December. “You either continue to get cortisone shots, which is obviously detrimental to your health and your muscles, or you go get arthroscopic surgery. For me, it’s just about being able to go back out there after the right amount of rehab, the right amount of rest and recovery and see what we can do for the rest of the season and then re- evaluate after a few months.”
Atkinson said Tuesday that it was not a specific play or practice that caused Irving to be in pain again, but rather something he’s been dealing with continuously.
“The shoulder is a tough thing,” Atkinson said. “I just think it was an on and off thing where it’s bothering you. Some days you feel good, some days you don’t feel good. But I think it got to the point it was, ‘Hey let’s see another specialist.'”
When asked whether he thought Irving was in danger of missing the rest of the season, Atkinson said he “did not want to go there.”
Irving has missed a total of 33 games this season, including five games before the All-Star break with a sprained knee. Atkinson said that Irving’s knee was feeling better, but his shoulder was still causing discomfort.
“Obviously, we pray for his health,” teammate Spencer Dinwiddie said. “That’s all you can do.”